Moon Knight is a good unique watch, but not much more
- Platform: Disney+Hotstar
- Original broadcast date: 30/03/2022 to 04/05/2022
- Cast: Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy, Ethan Hawke
- Created by: Jeremy Slater
I generally avoid Marvel Studio shows on Disney+ Hotstar because they’re mostly woke garbage that violently deconstructs beloved characters or completely destroys them in the name of reimagining them for a more progressive and diverse audience. If not, then they’re pushing these characters behind a “Mary Sue” who is described as someone who has the same default inherent abilities and powers that our beloved characters had to work hard to win at the over the years. I decided to watch moon knight because it was a character that I had no idea and therefore could not be spoiled and also because there was nothing interesting to see in theaters this week.
Steven (Oscar Issac) is a mild-mannered gift shop employee. He has a known problem with sleepwalking and has taken precautions to avoid serious problems due to his condition. However, he soon realizes that he is leading a double life and that his alter ego, Marc Spector, could be an international assassin. As Steven tries to uncover the secrets of Marc and his condition, he encounters a range of interesting and dangerous characters who not only shape his life, but also force him on a journey of self-discovery.
I had a bittersweet experience with moon knight. There was as much to like about the show as there was to dislike. The protagonists of the series, Marc/Steven, suffer from dissociative identity disorder. Marc also pledged himself body and soul to the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu, to be his Avatar on earth. Steven has no idea about this deal between Marc and Khonshu, to begin with, and so often finds himself in precarious situations that he has no idea or understanding of. He’s left to dig up details about his own existence and piece together the evidence to figure out who Marc and Khonshu were. After that, he has to convince the people around him of his predicament and explain his strange behavior.
If that wasn’t enough, he soon learns he has a wife and now must balance his two known identities to save his marriage. With so much going on around one character, moon knight never lacks plot elements and surprises to impress its audience. This aspect of the series also ensures that the narrative stays airy and audiences are invested in Marc and Steven’s story.
Oscar Issac is brilliant at switching between the two different identities and it’s his performance that ensures we’re glued to his character and curious about his character’s future. The fact that the two identities are so different in mannerisms, dialogue, physical abilities, and even sense of humor makes its realization even deeper. I found many viewers who absolutely hated Steven’s character and it was because of him constantly coming off as a disc brake on action sequences that were mostly doled out to Marc’s character. Steven’s dialogue delivery and odd mannerisms also contrasted sharply with his physically imposing and suave portrayal of Marc, which proved to be a sticking point for many viewers. So, it was a daunting task to pull out all the facets of these two distinctly different characters (sometimes in the same scene) and Issac was flawless in his rendition of Steven and Marc. If you look closer, you can even notice the change in mannerisms of the two identities when they are in the company of their wife, Layla (May Calamawy). All of these things help make the character wholesome, appealing, and one that I was interested in and wanted to know in which direction he was headed.
Besides the conflict between the characters of Marc and Steven due to their superhuman abilities and personality disorder, the series’ biggest plotline involves another Avatar, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), who tries to free the Egyptian god Ammit. on the world. . Khonshu understands Harrow’s plans but he is unable to convince the other gods to help him stop Harrow. So it’s up to him and Marc to stop Harrow from resurrecting Ammit. Soon Layla joins the quest as well, and we see fortunes swing violently as the two sides clash in Egypt. The central narrative of the series has a similar feel to what we got in movies like The Mummy and it brought back sweet memories of when movies were mostly about entertaining the masses. There was enough central plot material to fuel the 6 episodes and keep the proceedings interesting.
While countless people were calling May Calamawy’s Layla for being another Mary Sue and being better at what the Moon Knight does without having superhuman abilities, I really enjoyed her performance. There might be excessive rights involved in the way the character was written, but May was charming and rendered her character with such finesse and a sense of believability that it wasn’t hard to ignore everything. that came to mind about his character and just enjoy his essay. The hero moments, at the end, were equally enjoyable and they were so because of how wonderfully they were rendered by May and also because the series was developing from the very beginning. Even the unnecessary dialogue, “Are you an Egyptian superhero?” ran by without being too cringe because my attention was transfixed on May’s essay and her swell moves in the action sequences.
My issues with the series were that there were very few Moon Knights in a series called moon knight. The action sequences were very limited and what little there was didn’t have the kind of impact it was supposed to have. The series becomes extremely heavy with exposition as we go along and every time Ethan Hawke’s character is on screen you have to be prepared for relentless lectures that sometimes make sense and don’t have doesn’t make much sense at other times. The only reason these sequences were tolerable was because of Hawke’s personality and his ability to keep the audience interested in his character even when he’s just uttering lines.
The last two episodes of the series have been a real headache. The whole part involving Steven-Marc’s trip to the gates of hell and everything about the mental asylum and the interactions with Tawaret (Antonia Salib) was so harrowing that I almost fast-forwarded through those parts. Yes! These parts shed light on Marc’s life and we understand how Steven came to be, but they didn’t have to go as far as they did. The long dialogues involving Ethan Hawke as a psychiatrist and Marc as a patient were tiring. While the hero of the series is stuck in the underworld, it is Layla who is tasked with not only rescuing the God Khonshu who could then save the hero but also becoming an Avatar of Tawaret herself.
The series ends with an interesting twist in the end-credit scene that I hope the creators build on in future seasons. I was conflicted between enjoying and being bored by this series due to the many aspects discussed above and I think that would be the same for most people who come into this series even without any expectation. It could have been a cleaner cut with more action and more Moon Knight and it would have solved a lot of the problems plaguing the series. It’s still a nice unique watch.
Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 stars)
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